Lift-off for new launch technology with UK Space Agency funding

The UK Space Agency has announced £2.7m for 13 early-stage technology projects across England, Scotland and Wales to support the growing satellite launch sector.

The UK is home to a thriving satellite manufacturing industry and is on track to become the first country in Europe to offer commercial launch services to small satellite manufacturers, from a range of spaceports offering both horizontal and vertical rocket launch capabilities.

Funding from the agency’s new Launch UK Technology Investment Programme will support teams from industry and universities to develop technology, products and services that will enhance the UK spaceflight supply chain, strengthen international competitiveness and catalyse further investment.

One project will recycle materials, including natural cork, to create thermal protection solutions for launcher propulsion systems and launch vehicles with a lower environmental impact, while another will develop launcher components out of lighter and more cost-effective metal composites, reducing the risk of creating space debris. Two further projects will follow next year.

Ian Annett, deputy CEO at the UK Space Agency, said: “Funding new science and technology developments is crucial to growing the UK space sector and catalysing further investment into our economy.

“While we look forward to marking a major milestone in UK launch capabilities with the upcoming launch from Spaceport Cornwall, projects such as these ensure we have growing pipeline of new technologies ready for lift-off to support our long-term ambitions.”

Launch services are worth a potential £3.8bn to the UK economy over the next decade. The UK Space Agency is already delivering a programme of spaceflight projects, including Virgin Orbit’s first launch from Spaceport Cornwall, which will carry nine satellites into orbit early next year.

Work is also underway on the construction of spaceports in Sutherland and Shetland, which will host vertical rocket launches from national and international launch providers. Further spaceports are in development at other locations in Scotland and Wales, with the potential to host a wide range of new and innovative launch technologies.

By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily

Looking to promote your product/service to SME businesses in your region? Find out how Bdaily can help →

Enjoy the read? Get Bdaily delivered.

Sign up to receive our popular morning London email for free.

* Occasional offers & updates from selected Bdaily partners

Our Partners

Top Ten Most Read